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Prophecy Passages of the Church Fathers

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by asterisktom, May 21, 2022.

  1. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    Before Yahoogroups blipped out of existence they courteously offered to give to group owners the compressed archives of the discussions over the years. I was moderator of the ABCProphecy group (later renamed ABCBible and then ReformationNation) This particular post below was from, I think, 1998. This was a PreWrath group at the time.

    A lot of what I wrote below I would now cringe at when I reread it. But I offer it here for those who appreciate the value of researching the views of the Church Fathers on eschatology.

    Once again, this is from 1998. Caveat Lector, Note bene, and all that!

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    Prophecy Passages of the Church Fathers

    A valuable source of prophecy teaching comes from the writings of early Christians. These writings are often neglected or, what is worse, selectively or misquoted in support of whatever position they are pressed into service for. I believe it is helpful for Christians to be more familiar with these early teachers. To be sure, we can mislead by calling them “fathers” if by such we seem to infer to the less discerning infallibility or total reliability. Some of them have said some pretty quirky things (Irenaeus, for instance,was under the impression that Christ was crucified as a much older man). Their study and testimony, however, are useful for teaching and also as a sort of track record of the growing Church; for instance, where it began to veer off the mark in doctrines such as preferring outward symbols to inward realities and in the overvaluation of celibacy.

    As far as prophecy is concerned we can patiently trace the history of the Church’s understanding of endtimes. We can also counter claims, for instance, that they agreed on – or even had conceived of – a pre-trib scenario. As far as the early church is concerned; prewrath and posttrib seem to be their interpretation of the Bible’s teaching on Christ’s return.

    This is part 3 of the Prophecy Page I am working on. This list below is nowhere near finished. If anyone knows of works to add to this, let me know. Right now I am just going through Schaff‘s 30 some odd volume set and adding to the list as I go. I intend to expand the list (O, Ambition!) to include the wisdom and foolishness of modern times. Some of the writing ( in the Church Fathers’ Passages Archive) has been rewritten – in some cases translated afresh (if I had access to the Greek and if I had the time) to give these these ancient voices the timeless garb they deserve. It always grated on me to have to read these writers struggling to communicate to us of the 21st century in the passe patois of King James.

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    Prophecy Passages of the Church Fathers (Ante Nicene vols 1 -10 checked)

    The list below brings us up to, but not including, Augustine, Jerome and Chrysostom.

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    Clement
    First Epistle to the Corinthians
    Chapter 23

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    Barnabas
    Epistle,
    Chapter 4 “Antichrist is at hand”

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    Irenaeus
    Against Heresies,
    Book 3, Chapter 7; Book 5, Chapters 25 – 36

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    Commodianus
    Instructions
    Chapters 41 – 45, 80

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    Origen
    de Principiis
    Chapter 6, On the End (of the Age)

    Against Celsus
    Book 2, Ch 49, Book 4, Chs 1 – 3; Book 5, Chs 2 -5; Chs 14 – 24

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    Hippolytus
    On Daniel ;
    Christ and Antichrist,
    Antichrist & the Second Coming,
    (spurious?) On the End of the World

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    Cyprian
    Epistles
    Epistle 67.7, Epistle 55

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    Didache (Teaching of the Apostles)
    Chapter 16

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    Cyril
    Catechisms
    15.15 on DANIEL 7:9-14. (“shall come in glory to judge the living and dead”)

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    Julius Africanus
    Chronography
    Chapter 16: On the 70 Weeks of Daniel

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    Lactantius
    The Divine Institutes,
    Book 7
    Chapter 11 Of the Last Times, of the Soul and Body
    Chapter 14 Of the First and Last Times of the World
    Chapters 15 and 16 Of the Devastation of the World
    Chapter 17 Of the False Prophet, Hardships of the Righteous and his Destruction
    Chapter 18 Of the Fortunes of the World at the Last Time and of the Things Foretold by Soothsayers
    Chapter 19 Of the Advent of Christ to Judgment, and of the Overcoming of the False Prophet
    Chapter 20 Of the Judgment of Christ, of Christians, and of the Soul
    24 Of the Renewed World
    25 Of the Last Times, and of the City of Rome
    26 Of the Loosing of the Devil, and of the Second and Greatest Judgment
    27 An Encouragement and Confirmation of the Pious

    The Epitome of the DIvine Institutes
    Chapter 71 Of the Last Times
    72 Christ’s Descent, Judgment and Millennial Reign

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    Victorinus
    Commentary on the Apocalypse of John
    (Chapter by chapter – spotty in places)

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    Origen
    Commentary on Gospel of John;
    Chapters 1,2 (much on John’s Apocalypse)
    Commentary on Gospel of Matthew;
    Book 12 Chapters 29, 30
    Book 14: Ch 8


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    2022 Note
    Some of these writers, Didache, Barnabas, Clement, I now place before AD70.
     
  2. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    All post Apostolic stuff.
     
  3. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    The reason I say that those three are during Apostolic times (that is, pre-AD 66) is because of internal evidence. Two of them clearly refer to Temple activity as still happening. And Clement speaks of the death of Paul as being a very recent event.

    I believe the reason some people post-date these particular writings was in order to put something within those silent years (late 60s to mid 90s). They were silent years because all the Christians were raptured already. And it took a while for the new Christians to mature enough to be teachers and write epistles. And even the ones that started showing up, like Ignatius, had strange teachings mixed in with the good.
     
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  4. Lodic

    Lodic Well-Known Member

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    Since the Early Church Fathers were much closer to the time of Christ, I believe it's very important to be familiar with their views of prophecy. I have read "The Early Church and the End of the World" by Gary DeMar & Francis X. Gumerlock. Needless to say, their views were quite different from today's "Left Behind" fiction. I agree with your view that today's "prophecy pundits" tend to silence or disregard the early writers. Even the first chapter of "The Early Church" is titled "Biblical Minimalism and Bible Prophecy". I intend to buy "Revelation and the First Century (Preterist Interpretations of the Apocalypse in Early Christianity) by Francis X. Gumerlock.
     
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  5. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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